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Sunday, October 13, 2013
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Also today, in the FT: my review of Simon Winder's Danubia, an entertaining history of Habsburg Central Europe, starring, among others, the weird and not-always-wonderful Rudolf II of Prague. Together with the lions, tigers, dodos and other wild beasts in his castle, Rudolf kept a pet "historiographer": Joannes Sambucus (or János Zsámboky), of whom I am especially fond. I tried to squeeze him into the review but soon realised that he wouldn't fit and that it was pure self-indulgence.
Sambucus was a great Hungarian manuscript collector and editor of classical texts, best remembered for his Emblemata (1564), an emblem book (and what a strange fashion that was). I compiled a Sambucus bibliography for my librarianship dissertation years ago, an over-ambitious and quite pointless project for a single summer. I could no doubt have carried on working on it for years, travelling over Europe and America, comparing editions down to their tiniest detail, and might still be at it today - but fortunately I had neither time nor money for the job.
Sambucus himself spent all his money and time chasing manuscripts, buying them up, piling them up, poring over them. He was one of the great Renaissance bibliomaniacs and humanists. Towards the end of his life, he ran into debt, and had to sell his collection again.
Here is a picture, taken by Michal Maňas, of the memorial on his house in Vienna.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Thursday, October 4, 2012
It's impressive to see it, but there's one thing I don't understand. Every source I've ever seen says that Kerouac taped tracing-paper together to form the scroll so he wouldn't have to be distracted by changing paper in the typewriter. But at regular intervals all the way along, probably equivalent to about 2-3 sheets of ordinary paper, a neat shift occurs in the margin. Seems his typewriter was typing crooked, and when the text block drifted too far over he had to stop what he was doing, raise the bar that locks the paper in place, and shove the whole thing over a bit before clamping it back down and carrying on.
So - how is that not distracting? I think I'd find it even more so, as you'd end up constantly monitoring how far you were floating off to the side.
Am I interpreting what I'm seeing correctly? Or does anyone know a better explanation of these breaks?
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The headline in the print version (which I much prefer to the online one) was The Jelly Baby Boost. No contest, I'd say.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Kings Cross Lighthouse 26 July 2012, a set on Flickr.
Waiting for the Olympic torch to pass Kings Cross this morning, I got distracted watching this - the lighthouse on the corner of Pentonville Road, under refurbishment but not yet finished, being covered with a picture of what it's supposed to look like.